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The Email Larry Page Should Have Written to James Damore

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The Economist, writing from the point of view of Larry Page:

Your interpretation is wrong. Your memo was a great example of what’s called “motivated reasoning” — seeking out only the information that supports what you already believe. It was derogatory to women in our industry and elsewhere. Despite your stated support for diversity and fairness, it demonstrated profound prejudice. Your chain of reasoning had so many missing links that it hardly mattered what your argument was based on. We try to hire people who are willing to follow where the facts lead, whatever their preconceptions. In your case we clearly made a mistake.

Really strong piece that crystallizes my thoughts on this matter.

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anthonylatta
121 days ago
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Font Choice Leads to Scandal Threatening the Pakistani PM

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Sune Engel Rasmussen and Pádraig Collins, reporting for The Guardian:

The daughter of Pakistan’s prime minister has become subject of ridicule in her home country after forensic experts cast doubts on documents central to her defence against corruption allegations. […]

Documents claiming that Mariam Nawaz Sharif was only a trustee of the companies that bought the London flats, are dated February 2006, and appear to be typed in Microsoft Calibri.

But the font was only made commercially available in 2007, leading to suspicions that the documents are forged.

The website Dawn reached out to Calibri designer Lucas de Groot for comment:

In a separate email, de Groot, the font designer himself, said that while in theory it would have been possible to create a document using Calibri in 2006, the font would have to be obtained from a beta operating system, “from the hands of computer nerds”.

“Why would anyone use a completely unknown font for an official document in 2006?” he went on to question.

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anthonylatta
154 days ago
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This is why I use Comic Sans for all my official documents. Tried and tested.
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Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans

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A duo called Palette-Swap Ninja has produced a mashup of Star Wars and the entirety of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Each song on the album is paired chronologically with a scene from the movie:

Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
Luke Is In The Desert (Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds)
Being From The Spaceport Of Mos Eisley (Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!)

The effort here is amazing, particularly when this whole thing is going to get yanked at some point soon — it’s a race between Disney and Sony for quickest takedown notice. The whole video playlist is here and you can download the full album on their website or stream it on Soundcloud. (thx, tim)

Tags: movies   music   remix   Star Wars   The Beatles   video
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anthonylatta
223 days ago
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Ballston Gets Free ‘Gigabit-Capable’ Wi-Fi in Public Spaces

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Ballston neighborhood signFree district-wide Wi-Fi is launching in Ballston this month, promising to deliver a high-speed and seamless internet connection.

BLinked is available throughout Ballston’s public areas, thanks to a partnership between the Ballston Business Improvement District and Rockville-based startup Wi-Fiber. The BID says it is the first seamless, district-wide network in the region.

Wi-Fiber developed a system to serve the more than 30,000 people that work in Ballston. More than 30 discreet antennae relay signals connect all of Ballston’s outdoor public spaces to the “gigabit-capable” network, according to a press release.

Using algorithms to track data usage patterns throughout the neighborhood, BLinked also reads and interprets network activity in real time. It then uses the gathered data to redistribute resources to meet traffic and usage demands, meaning that users should not experience slow-downs.

“This is the next step in making Ballston stronger, smarter, and safer,” said Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston BID. “We’re proud to be the first to meet the impending need for public connectivity, and we anticipate this inspires new information and communication infrastructures throughout Arlington and across the region.”

Such programs have been requested by local business leaders, including Monumental Sports & Entertainment chairman Ted Leonsis in an interview with the Washington Business Journal last month.

A similar initiative has been undertaken in New York City through LinkNYC, which has worked to replace pay phones in the city with so-called “Links,” which provide services like high-speed Wi-Fi, phone calls, a tablet for maps and city services and charging outlets.

The new Wi-Fi network can help reduce strain on traditional cellular networks, which can crumble under heightened activity in crisis situations.

Chase Donnelly, a founding partner of Wi-Fiber, said the move to area-wide Wi-Fi can help integrate electric grids, water systems, stoplights and more into the Internet system to improve efficiency.

“This network could one day serve as the spinal cord for the city’s infrastructure,” Donnelly said in a statement. “This vision people have about the next generation of cities in which everything is interconnected, that’s what we’re providing the foundation for.”

Update at 3 p.m. — A PR rep for the BID clarified that the network is “gigabit-capable,” not “gigabyte-capable” as stated in the press release. The network is currently being tested and is expected to be available to the public by the end of the month.

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anthonylatta
282 days ago
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Donald Trump Wants to Spend $54 Billion More On Defense. He Can't.

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This is just a short post to highlight something I've already mentioned. Here it is:

Donald Trump says he wants to increase the defense budget by $54 billion. He can't. That would bust through the sequester caps in the Budget Control Act of 2011, and can only be done if the BCA caps are increased. This, in turn, can't be done via reconciliation. It has to be done normally, which means it will require at least eight Democrats to join all the Republicans in order to get 60 votes in the Senate. There's zero chance of this happening if Republicans are also planning to slash every domestic program that Democrats care about.

That's all. I keep reading stories about how Trump is going to find "offsetting" cuts of $54 billion, but that's not how it works. The sequester caps apply separately to domestic and defense spending. Republicans can offset all they want, but they still can't bulldoze the defense cap unless they get a bunch of Democratic votes to help them.

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anthonylatta
289 days ago
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Bach’s Crab Canon is a musical palindrome

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In a series of pieces written for King Frederick II of Prussia in 1747 called The Musical Offering, Johann Sebastian Bach included a canon that is popularly referred to as the Crab Canon. The piece is a puzzle to be worked out by the reader/player.

You may notice that the Crab Canon is performed by two instruments, but only one line is notated. What’s the deal?

Bach published the canons in the Musical Offering as puzzles, giving the reader the minimum amount of information with which they can figure out the piece as long as they understand its structure. To “solve” a puzzle canon is to give it a structure that makes it fit together in pleasing harmony.

The solution to the Crab Canon is that it can be played forwards or backwards or forwards and backwards together in accompaniment. It’s a musical palindrome of sorts. (via open culture)

Tags: Johann Sebastian Bach   music   video
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anthonylatta
295 days ago
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